Color Cube

This giant color “dice” is a fun way to play with toddlers or preschoolers for a variety of color games. Even better, all you need to make it is two upcycled cartons (I used soy milk).

Clean and dry the cartons completely, then cut each one in half. You can now nest them together so they form a perfect cube.

Cut squares of construction paper in a different color for each side, and glue onto the cube. Let dry overnight. The next morning, Veronika couldn’t wait to give the dice a few rolls the moment she spotted it.

Then we started adding in some color challenges. Depending what color landed face up on the cube, I had her run to fetch an object of that color.

Her favorite was a version where we matched the cube to crayons. After each roll, she selected a crayon from our set, and then of course wanted to color on the corresponding side of the cube. Pretty soon we had a decorated dice!

You can play lots of variations on these games, whether having your child hunt for a color object, race to see who can bring back the correct color fasted, have your child hand you a corresponding color of construction paper, and more! Next time we might try a shape cube for a shape hunt instead.

Decorate a Castle

This might not have been the most intricate castle we’ve ever put together, but a few large boxes are all any child needs to be king or queen of the realm for the day!

I recommend starting this project the night before, unless you want very impatient kids waiting for paint to dry. We used a big bristle brush to slather the sides of 4 cardboard boxes with paint. Because it was a lot of surface area to cover, this quickly needed to become a multi-colored castle, but the kids loved the result.

In the morning, it was time to assemble. I cut a few holes in some of the boxes for various purposes; some were small holes to be windows; some were large for Veronika to be able to crawl from box to box; and one was cut out on three sides but still attached at the bottom, to be the drawbridge of course! Be prepared for kids already crawling through and playing while you work. Chances are you won’t be able to keep them away.

You can leave the tops of the boxes straight, or cut out a few crenelations.

To make a working drawbridge, just attach a string or rope to the drawbridge flap that your child can pull on. Now Veronika could safely guard against intruders (like a certain big brother).

For window curtains, I hot-glued a few fabric scraps to a wooden dowel, then hot-glued the dowel over the smallest cut-out.

The queen was ready to rule! Having recently discovered that chalk works great for coloring big boxes, this proved to be a much cleaner method for her to decorate than painting. Veronika loved scribbling, and wanted me to add rainbows and sunshine, too.

I loved watching her take charge of the decorations!

I recommend leaving up big creations like this for at least a week, so your child can revisit it, continue to decorate, and play in new ways. What will your child’s castle look like? Please share in the comments!